When you won’t meet your spouse’s needs, they can feel frustrated. It can make your spouse emotionally detach from you. Before you reject what your spouse desires, think about why you’re rejecting it and how you could feel different about their desire. What is the primary need you want from them to feel close and connected to them? Ask yourself 3 questions to find what could inspire you to want to meet your spouse’s need.
- “Could they be giving me a wrong need, which makes me reluctant to want to meet their needs?”
Think about the actions/behavior they had in the past when you felt more connected and happier to meet their needs. It could be you’re not being clear with them or yourself what your primary need is.
Make sure you’re fully expressing your needs to your spouse. Don’t feel guilty about them and don’t hide or suppress your desires. Don’t be vague about what you’re asking for, so your spouse fully understands what you want. Don’t assume your spouse should know what you want by refusing to say it out loud.
All of these things could be affecting you getting your needs fully met by your spouse and subsequently you wanting to meet their needs. Be direct about what’s important to you in the marriage without feeling guilty about it and without being vague about what you need, want or desire. Stand up for what you want or what you like. Let them know how much this will affect your happiness to meet their needs, so it becomes a win-win for both of you.
- “Am I hurting them by dismissing some of their needs as being unimportant, while still expecting them to fulfill my needs?”
Ignoring what’s important to your spouse is hurtful. Just like it’s hurtful to you when they ignore what’s important to you. Give the empathy and compassion you would like given to you.
Not all of your spouse’s needs, wants and desires will be things you feel like doing and would be important to you. But it does help to find a way to do it enthusiastically because it’s important to them, assuming it doesn’t go against your morals or values. This helps them to feel closer to you and more likely to enthusiastically do what’s important to you.
Taking turns is a great way to do this. Take turns doing what’s important to each of you. Even when it’s not always your idea of fun, you should be doing what is important to them. This is the idea behind taking turns because they will be much more receptive to doing what makes you happy, even if it isn’t important to them.
- “It can be easy to refuse or resent what they desire, but would that make it easier for them to refuse or resent what I desire?”
Instead of pushing back against your spouse’s need, think about how their desires make them happier, feel closer to you, more connected and more likely to fulfill your needs and desires.
You may have conflicting schedules, which makes it difficult to meet their need sometimes. Or you may not be up to meeting their need mentally, emotionally or physically. But the worst thing you can do is to just say “no” and walk away. This makes them feel very dismissed and insignificant. Instead, find a different need to meet or a different time to meet their need. This shows them that you can’t meet their need at that moment, but that their happiness is still important to you.
Sometimes what you may be refusing them is their desire to take some of your focus off of them and put it on yourself and your own happiness. They may want you to focus on your interests, activities and what you want, rather than you being overly-focused on what makes them happy all the time. Knowing that you take the happiness of the entire marriage seriously may be what their need is and can draw them closer to you.
Just as important is to know the 3 questions to ask when your spouse won’t meet your needs.
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